My review of “The Caseroom” by Kate Hunter

lipstick socialist

the caseroom

This is a unique novel; how many are written by female  trade union activists about the history of women’s roles in trade unions and the struggle for equality at work?

The Caseroom is set during a dynamic period of women’s organising; 1891-1910. Iza Ross is a thirteen year old girl who, against all odds, is taken on as an apprentice  compositor in the Edinburgh print industry.  The opposition to women working in the print industry is spelled out by her older brother Rab who stops her one morning as she  leaves for work. “Ah’m a man at the frame, doing a man’s work. And you? You mean to be a frock at the frame? Better you’d never been born.”

women compositors

Rab and the other printers oppose the use by their employers of women as cheap labour.  As a female apprentice Iza gets only three  years training, unlike the men who get…

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